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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > sea slugs > Order Nudibranchia
Blue dragon nudibranch
Pteraeolidia ianthina
Family Facelinidae
updated Oct 2016
Where seen? This brilliant nudibranch is often seen on many of our shores, in coral rubble and near reefs. It is also commonly seen by divers.

Features:
3-5cm. Long, narrow, soft body with finger-like projections (called cerata) arranged in hand-like clusters along the length of the body. Although those encountered were mostly blue, this nudibranch reportedly comes in various colours from yellow to green. It is identified by the purple bands on its long oral tentacles. It has a pair of shorter feathery rhinophores.

What does it eat? It eats hydroids. A large solitary hydroid, Ralpharia sp. is among the adult's favourite food. Young ones have been seen among short 'turfing' hydroids. The blue dragon nudibranch can also store symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) within its cerata and body. Here, the zooxanthellae get protection and in turn provides the nudibranch with much of the nutrients produced through photosynthesis. Young animals are white as they have yet to develop their crop of zooxanthellae. Older ones may be brown. Adults often can go without feeding for sometime, possibly living off the nutrients provided by the zooxanthallae.


Pteraeolidia species have a habit of staying near their eggs once they've laid them. Several individuals may stay near the eggs for several weeks. But it is not clear whether they are actually caring for their eggs.

Beting Bronok, Aug 05

Purple bands on oral tentacles.

Beting Bronok, Jun 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Cyrene Reef, Nov 08
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on his blog.

Feathery rhinophores.


Pulau Sekudu, May 12

Cerata sin hand-like clusters

Blue dragon nudibranchs on Singapore shores

Photos of Blue dragon nudibranchs for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map


Pulau Sekudu, Jul 15

Photo shared by Rene Ong on facebook.

Cyrene Reef, Apr 08
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on flickr.


Pulau Semakau, Jun 08

Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.


Pulau Semakau East, Jan 16
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.
 


Terumbu Raya, May 10

Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her blog.

Terumbu Semakau, Jun 12

Photo shared by Russel Low on facebook.

Links
References
  • Tan Siong Kiat and Henrietta P. M. Woo, 2010 Preliminary Checklist of The Molluscs of Singapore (pdf), Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore.
  • Debelius, Helmut, 2001. Nudibranchs and Sea Snails: Indo-Pacific Field Guide IKAN-Unterwasserachiv, Frankfurt. 321 pp.
  • Wells, Fred E. and Clayton W. Bryce. 2000. Slugs of Western Australia: A guide to the species from the Indian to West Pacific Oceans. Western Australian Museum. 184 pp.
  • Coleman, Neville. 2001. 1001 Nudibranchs: Catalogue of Indo-Pacific Sea Slugs. Neville Coleman's Underwater Geographic Pty Ltd, Australia.144pp.
  • Coleman, Neville, 1989. Nudibranchs of the South Pacific Vol 1. 64 pp.
  • Gosliner, Terrence M., David W. Behrens and Gary C. Williams. 1996. Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific: Animal life from Africa to Hawai'I exclusive of the vertebrates Sea Challengers. 314pp.
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